Month: January 2018

Flute Accessories

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.

Shopping 1

Sometimes in these colder winter months, I like to curl up with a cup of tea, laptop in hand, and do some online shopping. Gone are the days when we had to schlep out into the cold to our nearest Woodwind/Brasswind or other mega music store to find fun, useful, or beautiful items to add to our gig bags. In researching for today’s blog, I found a number of flute accessories that can be ordered from the comfort of your own home. Today’s blog is devoted to those of us in need of a bit of retail therapy to freshen up our daily practice environment. Go ahead! Order that wonderful new gadget or beautiful new silk cleaning cloth. Even the smallest item can bring a smile to your face (and some zip to your routine).

Flute World

Flute World is the best place on the internet to purchase anything having to do with the flute. I have been a Flute World customer for well over 20 years now. Most of my music library has been purchased directly from Flute World, and I often find myself perusing the accessories section whenever I am in the mood for some retail therapy. Show them support and check out the flute swag on their site!

Finger Position Corrector

Shopping Finger Position Corrector.jpg

https://www.fluteworld.com/Finger-Position-Corrector–TA-FPC-.html?t=0

I needed something like this 20 years ago! My wild, flying flute fingers always got the best of me during tricky, technical runs. This is a great helper for your students (or yourself) if you find that flying fingers often slow down technical passages. This will also save your fingers from undue strain that could lead to larger problems down the road such as tendonitis.

Anfree Swab for C Flute

Shopping Anfree Swab.jpg

https://www.fluteworld.com/Anfree-Swab-for-C-Flute–CC-FlAnfree-.html?t=0&sort=0

Admit it – You’ve always been a bit fascinated by those swabs oboists use that just seem to glide magically through the instrument using the weight of a heavier end piece.  Now, you can have the same style swab for the flute! The only drawback to this swab is that it will not work very well on the headjoint, so using the standard silk swab will still be required. The payoff, though, is that the body and foot joint will be much cleaner through the use of the microfiber material.

Concert Folio

Shopping Concert Folio

https://www.fluteworld.com/Concert-Folio–OS-CF-.html?t=0&sort=0

I’ve always had a weakness for those traditional, timeless band and orchestra folders made with the durable pressboard shells and rough and tough inner pockets. I was always sad to hand these back at the end of an academic year or orchestral season. Standard paper folders just don’t seem to cut it for me. Now you can have your own leatherette folder forever! These are great for the stage and hold a ton of music. The pencil holder is also very handy (and a good reminder to always bring a pencil to rehearsal).

Valentino ClearView Flute Stand

Shopping ClearView Flute Stand.jpg

https://www.fluteworld.com/Valentino-ClearView-Flute-Stand–101092-.html?t=0&sort=0

The black, plastic, fold-up flute stands have become a staple due to their portability, however over the years many flutists have been opting for more beautiful, yet bulkier, wooden flute stands. I think this is a great compromise, providing both portability and a little bit of class. This stand looks far better on stage than the traditional fold-up stands and is more secure than stands using the standard moveable wooden pegs.

BG Pad Dryer

Shopping Pad Dryer

https://www.fluteworld.com/BG-Pad-Dryer–MT-PD-.html?t=0

Are you sick of buying cigarette paper or ordering expensive pad cleaning paper (or, heaven forbid, using the side of your music..)? Save the Earth by switching to a reusable pad cleaner like this one! Each strip lasts over one year and is washable. Save the planet while you are saving your pads.

Copper Headjoint Fitting Strips

Shopping Copper Strips

https://www.fluteworld.com/Copper-Headjoint-Fitting-Strips–101068-.html?t=0&sort=2

These are great if you have a headjoint that is just a bit smaller than the body of your instrument. Keep in mind, though, that these are only a temporary solution. Take your headjoint in to your local flute tech guru for a proper fitting.

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Did you also know that Amazon sells flute accessories!!??!?! (This was news to me when I was shopping researching for today’s blog). If you want to make good use of your Amazon Prime membership this year, check out some of the flute goodies offered below.

Bo-Pep Flute Thumb Guide

Bo-Pep Flute Thumb Guide

Shopping Bo Pep

These have been around forever and, although I prefer to use Flute Gels for the side of the left index finger, I really like the Bo-Pep thumb guide for proper right-hand thumb placement. These are great for your students who may have a wandering thumb. Correcting your right-hand thumb will provide a better foundation for your fingers to move faster with greater ease. Make 2018 the year that you correct those bad thumb habits.

Beaumont Damson Lace Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Flute Cleaner Cleaning Cloth – Lint Free, Microfibre – Beaumont Damson Lace

Shopping Beaumont Cloth

Who says you have to use those ugly blue polishing cloths from yesteryear to polish your flute before the show? These are all the rage right now as they are not only beautiful (and come in a wide array of styles), but the microfiber fabric will shine up your instrument gently and effectively with a few easy swipes. I am a fan!

ANKO Music Stand Kit

Music Stand, ANKO Professional Collapsible Music Stand with Music Book Clip, LED Music Stand Lamp and Carrying Bag. suitable for Violin, Guitar, Flute and Instrumental Performance. (BLACK-1 PACK)

Shopping ANKO

I love that this kit comes with everything and fits into a discrete and practical carrying case. This is perfect for those flute choir performances where stands are not necessarily provided, and the lighting may be less than perfect (although the venue is gorgeous). In this kit, you will get a collapsible music stand, music book clip, LED music stand lamp, and a carrying case. This is all the gear you need for your next performance!

Flute Fingerings & Flute Parts Flashcard Set

Flute Fingerings & Flute Parts Flashcard Set

Shopping Flute Flashcards

Studio masterclasses do not have to consists only of performances. These flashcards are great to use with your beginning students as a fun masterclass game activity. You could also use this as a warm up for your beginners during their initial flute lessons. I really like the idea of adding a game to the studio environment to make learning fun for younger students. These will definitely be a hit.

Yamaha Flute Lip Plate Patches

Yamaha YAC 1089P2 Flute Lip Plate Patch

Shopping Flute Patches

I have featured these on my blog in the past and during the summer months, these babies are my go-to for keeping my flute from sliding all over my face. They attach to your lip plate just like simple, paper stickers. Simple but very effective. I also like to use these to guard against any potentially embarrassing fluter’s chin moment during important performances.

Comica CVM-VS08 Condenser Microphone

Comica CVM-VS08 Professional Cardioid Condenser Directional Mini Shotgun Microphone for SmartPhones ,Vlogging Microphone for iphone and YouTube video ( Wind Muff included)

Shopping Mic

This is a great purchase for those of you who are wanting to set up a YouTube channel or who may be preparing an audition CD for one of the upcoming NFA competitions. This handy dandy microphone plugs directly into your smartphone and keeps any wild, screaming high notes from creating unflattering feedback on your recordings. Use this mic with the Garage Band app and your recordings will sound as if you had been performing in a large empty church (when in reality you were recording in your garage).

Which flute accessories do you love? What is currently on your shopping list? What types of products are you looking to splurge on? Comment below and share the results of your own flute retail therapy.

 

 

Happy Fluting!

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Learning Something New

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday.

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Today’s blog is a little different from my typical Tips and Tricks posts or even my fun Flute Meme or Flute Quiz Fridays. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to learn to play the guitar. I have always wanted to learn but have put it off thinking that my tiny flute fingers and short, stubby pinky would make things quite challenging. In reality, I was simply just afraid to try something new. As musicians, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect at anything musical that is placed in front of us. I’ve wanted to be the next Slash or Joe Perry for so long, but could not see a way to get there. Of course, the quick answer was just to jump in. That is precisely what I plan to do this year. I mentioned this intention to my husband, who immediately purchased a pink guitar for me to practice on (he is a drummer and was excited to have a chance to jam as a family). I have the instrument, a basic guide to chords, and dozens of YouTube tutorials to get me started. What I am discovering, however, is that the guitar is very different from the flute and some of my flute habits (such as playing on the pads of my fingers rather than the tips) often get in the way of my ability to play basic guitar chords. I am a student all over again! I can now put myself in my own student’s shoes, experiencing the desire to learn something but frustrated by my own lack of skill. I find myself feeling the same way my beginning flute student feel when they struggle to produce a clean sound on the flute or forget new fingerings, and often need to give myself the same pep talks I give to my students (“practice makes perfect,” “keep working a little bit at a time,” “you cannot become a master at something overnight,” “you’ll get there! Just keep working hard). It has been very eye opening to learn something new as an adult. I suddenly have a new understanding about how my students approach the early stages of learning. Today’s blog is devoted to some of the things I have learned in the short 3 weeks I have been plugging away on the guitar. I hope they help you to understand your own students a bit better and encourage any beginners to keep going. Anything great requires time, dedication, and a bit of elbow grease. You can do it!

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Leave your expectations at the door. One of my greatest challenges as a beginning guitar student is muted chords. As a woodwind player, I have come to expect that if I use the right fingering for a note, I will produce the necessary sound (even if the tone is a bit questionable). On the guitar, you may have the “right” fingering, but if your fingers are touching any of the other strings, you will have a muted tone. I have been trying to teach myself that there are other components to master before I can achieve the sound I desire. This is something that we can also teach our flute students. A fingering is not the end of the story. Air placement/direction and embouchure are as vital to sound production on the flute as placing your fingers exactly between the strings are to playing the guitar.

 blog 3

Playing one instrument very well does not necessarily mean you will be able to play all instruments well. Learning a second instrument is quite a humbling experience. I remember learning to play the piano as an undergraduate student and struggling to read a new clef. Sight reading was always a frightening experience because I was not very confident in my abilities to quickly read, and understand, the bass line, especially when numerous chords were stacked on top of one another. Although my skills strengthened with time, I was never a concert pianist. What mattered in this scenario is that I enjoyed the instrument and enjoyed the challenge of learning something new. As I learn to play the guitar, I am reminded that I do not know everything. I can read music, I understand chord progressions, but those two things alone will not help me achieve the physical ability to create chords on this new instrument or memorize exactly where my fingers must go to play a good, old I, IV, V, I chord progression. This is also something that we can teach flute students who may have had previous musical training. It’s okay to struggle. This is not the same instrument that you are used to. It does not function the way a piano functions. The skills necessary to be a successful drummer are not the same as those needed to rock cello solo. Every instrument is different. Learn those differences from the bottom up without assumptions.

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Practice a little bit every day and avoid long, tiring, frustrating, repetitive practice sessions. There is a point when practicing simply to drill something into your brain is detrimental to your development as a musician. This is where bad habits occur. In the beginning, you are building strength gradually and, like any bodybuilder, you must give your muscles the opportunity to rest, strengthen, and reboot between sets. Your brain also must have time to process what you are learning, and calmly come up with new approaches to challenges. I advise beginning students to practice 20 minutes per day and build up their time gradually as they gain more experience with the instrument. I, myself, has been limiting myself to 20 minutes per day on the guitar as I get used to the numbing pain on my fingertips and the work out that my left hand index finger gets from holding down the strings. This helps me to rethink ways to position my fingers so that they do not mute the strings as much. I also use the time away from the instrument to set goals for the next practice session. Sometimes the mental work we accomplish away from the instrument is just as valuable as the work we accomplish with the instrument in hand.

 blog 5

Posture is key. Developing good posture from the very beginning of your study is critical. I was initially trying to play the guitar with the neck too far down and outward, making it difficult for me to stretch my arm properly, which in turn caused me to misuse my left hand thumb. The left hand thumb is an important stabilizing anchor for the entire left hand (much like the side of the left index finger in combination with the right hand thumb is for the flute). When I altered my posture, my thumb was freed up and my fingers fell easier on the strings. Good posture, of course, is just as important for flute playing and should be the absolute starting point with beginning students. Remind students as the get tired or frustrated in the early stages that their posture will help them conserve both mental and physical energy.

 blog 7

Finally, do not give up. This goes hand-in-hand with slow, daily bursts of practice in the initial stages of learning an instrument. I’ve had a few practice sessions on the guitar that brought out my inherited Irish temper. The more I practiced, the worse my playing sounded. At the end of the failed practice session, I found myself saying things I didn’t really mean (“This is a waste of my time!” “My fingers are too fat for this instrument.” “I suck at the guitar. What is the point??”). These statements were mere reflections of my frustration and not grounded in the truth. I always, however, picked up the instrument and tried again the next day. Beginnings are difficult, so take them slowly and remain calm. Rampal was not an overnight success (nor was Slash). Learn something new every day and set reasonable, attainable goals. Remind your students that frustration is totally normal as they learn a new instrument. It is the ones that stick with it that end up successful. Stay calm and learn on!

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Have you taken up a second instrument? What was it like for you in the early stages? What was it like to be a student again? Did you learn new things that could help your own students as they learn to play the flute? Please comment below!

 

Happy Fluting!

2018 Reading List Recommendations (Biographies)

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Saturday.

Books 1

A common New Year’s resolution is to spend more time reading and January is the time when many of us put together a reading list for the upcoming year. A great addition to any reading list is a biography of a renowned, historical figure, to help inspire a better, more grounded direction in your career and your daily life. In today’s blog, I have tracked down 10 wonderful biographies of composers and flutists to add to your 2018 reading list. I hope they inspire you as they have inspired me. Enjoy!

Books - Mozart

Mozart by Maynard Solomon

Available on Amazon: Mozart: A Life

This biography about Mozart’s life examines not just how he developed as a composer but also how his relationships shaped both his musical and personal lives. The central relationship in Mozart’s life, his father, Leopold Mozart, is explored in depth through letters circulated between the two that shed light on the psychological damage caused by a demanding and unyielding father and emotional reactions of a highly sensitive, tortured genius searching desperately for the serene utopia promised in his compositions. By examining the history of the letters, Solomon gives us a very personal account of Mozart and his struggles as a child prodigy turned struggling genius.

About the Author: Maynard Solomon’s books on Beethoven and his renowned writings on Mozart, Schubert, and Ives led a contributor to Music & Letters to name him “the leading musicologist-biographer of our time.” His classic biography, Beethoven, has been translated into seven languages and his Beethoven Essays received the Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for best book of the year in 1989. Mr. Solomon, who lives in New York, has taught at Columbia, Harvard, and Yale Universities. (Source: Harper Collins Publishers)

Books - Taffanel

Taffanel, Genius of the Flute by Edward Blakeman

Available on Amazon: Taffanel: Genius of the Flute

Known as the “father of the French Flute school,” Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) was the most celebrated French flutist, composer, and pedagogue of the late 19th century. The flute playing world owes quite a debt to Mr. Taffanel and his support for the Boehm-style flute, which has now become standard in flute studios everywhere. Blakeman’s historical account of Taffanel’s career includes a number of unpublished letters and papers painting the composers as a major musical figure in fin de siécle Parisian society. This biography beautifully tells the story of an artist thriving in an extraordinary political and cultural era, exploring relationships with other musicians and prominent French composers as he solidified his reputation as one of the most extraordinary musicians of the French Romantic era.

About the Author: Edward Blakeman is a commissioning and program Editor at BBC Radio 3, where his responsibilities include overseeing the broadcasts of the annual season of BBC Proms. Before joining the BBC, he freelanced as a flute player, writer and presenter, and was Head of the Wind Department at the London College of Music. He is a member of the Council of the Royal Philharmonic Society, and editor of various music editions. (Source: Faber & Faber)

Books - Moyse

Marcel Moyse: Voice of the Flute by Ann McCatchan

Available on Amazon: Marcel Moyse: Voice of the Flute

Marcel Moyse: Voice of the Flute is the definitive biography of this legendary figure. Drawing on her five years of scholarly research and well over one hundred interviews with European and American students, colleagues and Moyse family members, Ann McCutchan traces his career with particular attention to the cultural and political conditions that helped mold him, his colleagues, and his followers on both sides of the Atlantic. The result is a full and truthful portrait of this charismatic, complex and often puzzling man. (Source: http://www.annmccutchan.com/marcel-moyse.html)

About the Author:  Ann McCutchan holds music performance degrees from Florida State University and the University of Michigan, and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston.  The founding director of the University of Wyoming’s MFA creative writing program, she taught creative writing for ten years at the University of North Texas, where she received the Kesterson Award for outstanding graduate teaching and was Editor of UNT’s American Literary Review.  Ann was elected to the Texas Institute of Letters in 2010 and sits on the artistic advisory board of Voices of Change, the Dallas contemporary music ensemble. (Source: http://www.annmccutchan.com/marcel-moyse.html)

Books - Barrere

Monarch of the Flute: The Life of Georges Barrère by Nancy Toff

Available on Amazon: Monarch of the Flute: The Life of Georges Barrère

This is a great biography to read after reading Taffanel: Genius of the Flute as George Barrère was one of the most prominent flutists that studied with Paul Taffanel at the Paris Conservatorie during the turn of the century. George Barrère brought the French flute playing style from Paris to New York, solidifying his place in the history of American flute playing and setting a new standard for flute performance in The States. He is best known for his performances of Poem of Charles Tomlinson Griffes and Density 21.5 by Edgard Varese, both of which were dedicated to him. Based on archival research and oral histories, this biography follows Barrère throughout his early studies and career in Paris, his interactions with contemporary composers during his time in both Paris and New York, his experiences as principal flute of the New York Symphony, and his experience as a touring chamber musician.

About the Author: Nancy Toff is author of The Flute Book, The Development of the Modern Flute, and Georges Barrère and the Flute in America and is a past president of the New York Flute Club. Toff is the 2012 winner of the National Flute Association’s National Service Award. Ms. Toff currently serves as an executive editor at Oxford University Press.

Books - Beethoven

Beethoven by Maynard Solomon

Available on Amazon.com: Beethoven, Revised Edition

Maynard Solomon is on this list twice because his biographies are some of the best researched and best written biographies on the market. This biography is very similar to his biography on Mozart, tracing the parallels between Beethoven’s profession and personal lives and comparing the impact of his relationships with others (and with himself) to his psychological development. To truly decipher what a composer is trying to say in a composition, we must try understanding where they are coming from personally, politically, and professionally. Maynard Solomon helps us achieve this by looking at the letters and documents written by the composer himself. We all know that Beethoven was a genius, but we often forget just much how he struggled with his health and emotional life during the later part of his life. This biography connects the political landscape of the time to Beethoven, his music, his emotions, and his personal struggles as a tormented genius.

About the Author: Maynard Solomon’s books on Beethoven and his renowned writings on Mozart, Schubert, and Ives led a contributor to Music & Letters to name him “the leading musicologist-biographer of our time.” His classic biography, Beethoven, has been translated into seven languages and his Beethoven Essays received the Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for best book of the year in 1989. Mr. Solomon, who lives in New York, has taught at Columbia, Harvard, and Yale Universities. (Source: Harper Collins Publishers)

Books - Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn: A Life in Music by R. Larry Todd

Available on Amazon: Mendelssohn: A Life in Music

In this account of Felix Mendelssohn, R. Larry Todd masterfully connects many of the composer’s best known (and little known) compositions to events and relationships in Mendelssohn’s life using analyses of autographed manuscripts, correspondence, diaries, and paintings. Mendelssohn often gets a bad wrap as a composer writing overly sentimental work, however Todd describes how the composer used understatement and subtle yet colorful orchestration to create masterpieces full of freshness and vividness. This biography also discusses the impact of Mendelssohn’s Jewish heritage in relation to the anti-Semitic attacks on his music by Richard Wagner, his complex relationships with his sister Fanny, and his relationships with the cultural elite.

About the Author: R. Larry Todd was hailed in The New York Times as “the dean of Mendelssohn scholars in the United States.” A Professor of Musicology at Duke University, he has published widely on Mendelssohn and his time, and nineteenth-century music. (Source: Amazon.com)

Books - Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff

Available on Amazon: Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician

This engaging new biography portrays Bach as the living, breathing, and sometimes imperfect human being that he was, while bringing to bear all the advances of the last half-century of Bach scholarship. Wolff demonstrates the intimate connection between the composer’s life and his music, showing how Bach’s superb inventiveness pervaded his career as musician, composer, performer, scholar, and teacher. And throughout, we see Bach in the broader context of his time: its institutions, traditions, and influences. With this highly readable book, Wolff sets a new standard for Bach biography. (Source: Amazon.com)

About the Author: CHRISTOPH WOLFF is Adams University Research Professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA and Visiting Professor at the Juilliard School in New York. He currently serves as Director of the Bach-Archiv in Leipzig and President of the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales. Recipient of the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association in London (1978), the Humboldt Research Award (1996), an honorary professorship at the University of Freiburg, and several honorary degrees, he is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften. He has been awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, honorary membership by the American Musicological Society, the American Bach Society, and the Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg. Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician” won the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society for the best musicological book published in 2000. (Source: Amazon.com)

Books - Rampal

Music, My Love by Jean Pierre Rampal

Available on Amazon: Music, My Love

Finally – an Autobiography!! And it just happens to be about the most notable performing flutist of the 20th century, Jean Pierre Rampal. I must confess – I did not know that this book existed until I was researching for today’s blog. This is a very fun and personal account from the master himself about his love of flute playing and his experiences as a flute player. Fun fact: Jean Pierre Rampal had originally intended to be a doctor. This autobiography is just plain fun, written by a performer whose reputation stands the test of time.

About the Author: Jean-Pierre Rampal, in full Jean-Pierre-Louis Rampal, (born Jan. 7, 1922, Marseille, France—died May 20, 2000, Paris), French flutist who brought the flute to new prominence as a concert instrument and demonstrated the appropriateness of the flute as a solo instrument adaptable to a wide range of music, from Baroque masterpieces and English folk songs to improvised jazz. Rampal was the son of a flute teacher but was encouraged to become a doctor, and he attended Marseille Medical School. During World War II he was drafted into a German labour camp, and he abandoned his studies to go underground in Paris. Rampal began taking flute lessons at the Paris Conservatory and garnered attention after winning the school’s prestigious competition. After the war he began his career as a flutist in the Vichy Opéra orchestra (1947–51) and later was first flute at the Paris Opéra (1956–62). In 1968 he joined the faculty of the Paris Conservatory. Particularly devoted to chamber music, Rampal founded the French Wind Quintet in 1945 and the Baroque Ensemble of Paris in 1953. In addition to making international concert tours, he edited music by Baroque composers and taught. In later years he took up conducting. His popularity was in large part due to his extensive recording. Rampal gained admiration for his authentic interpretation of 18th-century music, his smooth, cleanly articulated tone, and his mastery of subtle tonal nuance. (Source: www.Britannica.com)

Books - Wagner

Richard Wagner: A Life in Music by Martin Geck

Available on Amazon: Richard Wagner: A Life in Music

Like him or loathe him, Richard Wagner’s music has made a lasting impression on the world, and his contributions to opera in particular have earned him a permanent place in the canon of Western Classical music. This biography traces the dramatic life and career of Richard Wagner and his theatrical writings on culture, philosophy, literature, theater, visual arts, and composition. Best known for the four-opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelung, Wagner also composed some of the most significant operas of the Romantic era including The Flying Dutchman, Tannhäuser, and Tristan and Isolde. Geck brilliantly ties Wagner’s compositional life with his ever-evolving (or devolving, in some cases) understanding of aesthetics.

About the Author:  Martin Geck is professor of musicology at the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. His other books include Johann Sebastian Bach: Life and Work and Robert Schumann: The Life and Work of a Romantic Composer, the latter also published by the University of Chicago Press. Stewart Spencer is an independent scholar and the translator of more than three dozen books. (Source: Amazon.com)

Books - Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky (Critical Lives) by Johnathan Cross

Available on Amazon: Igor Stravinsky (Critical Lives)

(Source: Amazon.com) Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) was perhaps the twentieth century’s most celebrated composer, a leading light of modernism and a restlessly creative artist. This new entry in the Critical Lives series traces the story of Stravinsky’s life and work, setting him in the context of the turbulent times in which he lived. Born in Russia, Stravinsky spent most of his life in exile—and while his work was deliberately cosmopolitan, the pain of estrangement nonetheless left its mark on the man and his work, distinguishable in an ever-present sense of loss. Jonathan Cross shows how that work emerged over the course of decades spent in Paris, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, in an artistic circle that included Joyce, Picasso, and Proust and that culminated in Stravinsky being celebrated by both the White House and the Kremlin as one of the great artistic forces of the era. Approachable and absorbing, Cross’s biography enables us to see Stravinsky’s life and artistic achievement in a new light, understanding how his work both reflected and shaped his times.

About the Author: Jonathan Cross is professor of musicology at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Christ Church, Oxford. (Source: Amazon.com)

Books 2

What is on your 2018 reading list? Which one of the above biographies do you wish to add to your list? Which one of these figures inspires you the most? Please comment below!

Happy Fluting (and happy reading)!

30-DAY TAFFANEL & GAUBERT EXERCISE #4 CHALLENGE

Greetings and welcome to a new Flute Friday/Sunday. So far, my New Year’s Resolution to post Flute Fridays actually ON Friday has bombed. Better luck next week.

30 day 2

Happy New Year! During this time each year, I typically post a blog about goal setting or action plans to improve your flute playing in the new year. For 2018, however, I have become fascinated by the idea of the 30-day challenge. This is a great way to set a single, focused, achievable goal to completely transform one area of your life, or in this case, your flute playing, over the course of a month. You may have seen videos on Facebook or YouTube documenting 30-day challenges such as the 30-day push-up challenge or a 30-day clean eating challenge. The results are incredible! Experts say that it takes approximately 21 days to develop a new habit. A 30-day challenge not only works to achieve a specific goal, but also helps to develop lasting, healthy habits that you can take with you beyond the 30-day mark.

30 day

If there is one daily practice habit that we could all use a bit more encouragement to develop, it is playing through our scale exercises. Therefore, in the spirit of the season, I have developed the following 30-Day Taffanel & Gaubert Exercise #4 Challenge. All of the below articulation are to practiced using Exercise #4 from Taffanel and Gaubert’s Exercices Journaliers de Mecanisme Flute (available for purchase on Amazon: SELRES_fcf84d72-cce4-43b9-8a44-34d54dbb388fSELRES_fa8d7d03-c544-4e4a-aaf9-4cf198841f67SELRES_0108399c-4669-4b6e-ab10-4296a4acf60117 Big Daily Finger Exercises / 17 Grands Exercises Jounaliers de Mecanisme / 17 Grandes Ejercicios Diarios de Mechanismo By Paul Taffanel & Philippe … Chinese, English, Spanish and French Edition)SELRES_0108399c-4669-4b6e-ab10-4296a4acf601SELRES_fa8d7d03-c544-4e4a-aaf9-4cf198841f67SELRES_fcf84d72-cce4-43b9-8a44-34d54dbb388f ). The great thing about this challenge is that you can begin again at the end of the 30 days by selecting another scale or interval exercise from the same book! Arpeggio challenge on Exercise #12, anybody

Make January 2018 your month of scale and articulation mastery! Enjoy this 30-day challenge and please comment below with your progress, challenges, and successes as you complete this challenge.

Happy practicing!

30 day 4

 

30-DAY TAFFANEL & GAUBERT EXERCISE #4 CHALLENGE
Play through Exercise #4 using a single articulation each day as indicated below. At the completion of the challenge, you may use the below articulation list to challenge yourself to another 30-day challenge using any exercise from Taffanel and Gaubert’s Exercices Journaliers de Mecanisme Flute.

DAY 1 Slur all
DAY 2 Single tongue all (legato)
DAY 3 Single tongue all (marcato)
DAY 4 Single tongue all (staccato)
DAY 5 Single tongue all using the “coo” syllable (articulating from the back of the tongue)
DAY 6 Double tongue all (syllables of your choice)
DAY 7 Double tongue all using “uka-tucka” syllables
DAY 8 Chirp all (syllable-less articulation that uses short puffs of air)
DAY 9 Flutter-tongue ascending passages, slur descending passages
DAY 10 Slur ascending passages, flutter descending passages
DAY 11 Swing all notes (slurred)
DAY 12 Swing all notes (single-tongued)
DAY 13 Two articulated (single-tongued) eighth notes on each pitch
DAY 14 Four articulated (double-tongued) 16th notes on each pitch
DAY 15 Three articulated (sing-tongued) eighth notes on each pitch
DAY 16 Six articulated (tripled-tongued) 16th notes on each pitch
DAY 17 Slur two, single-tongue two
DAY 18 Double-tongue two, slur two
DAY 19 Slur three, single-tongue one
DAY 20 Single-tongue one, slur three
DAY 21 Slur two, slur two
DAY 22 16th note, eighth note figure on each pitch
DAY 23 Eighth note, two 16th note figure on each pitch
DAY 24 Two 16th notes, eighth note figure on each pitch
DAY 25 Articulated quintuplets on each pitch (TKTTK)
DAY 26 Articulated septuplets on each pitch (TKTKTKT)
DAY 27 Single-tongue two, slur six
DAY 28 Double-tongue four (using duc-ky syllables), slur four
DAY 29 Single-tongue three, slur five
DAY 30 Slur all, playing as quickly, and fluidly as possible

CHALLENGE COMPLETE!

30 day 3

Happy fluting!